Coin rings are an interesting way to use your old coins. They also make novel pieces of jewelry. Pre-1964 larger denomination American coins are almost pure silver. Fifty cent pieces are the size of a typical man's ring. Women will usually need a smaller denomination. The center of the coin is removed to leave a circular band that can be slipped over the finger. Band edges are smoothed, or gradually shaped to form hexagons or other similar designs. Finished rings can be adjusted slightly in size to fit almost any wearer.
Shaping the Coin Ring
Silver is the metal of choice for coin rings because it is naturally soft and malleable. The silver can be worked with simple tools. Smooth out the edge of the coin by striking it lightly with a hammer. Keep tapping and turning the coin until the grooves on the edge have been completely removed. This process should take about 15 minutes.
Continue tapping the coin until it begins to thicken and grow smaller. The tapping raises a lip all around the coin, slowly reducing the coin's overall size. A 50 cent piece must be reduced to the approximate size of a quarter. The quarter should be able to fit inside the raised lip. You may also use an existing ring to match size. Take the ring and match it up to the lip. The ring will not fit inside the lip of the coin ring, but should be even with the coin's edges. If fashioning a hexagonal coin ring, use a hexagonal nut as a guide. Check your coin against the shape of the hexagonal nut. Do not rush the shaping process. Heavy hammer blows will warp the coin.
Turning the Shaped Coin Into a Ring
Use a drill bit to remove the center of coin. Carefully select a bit that closely matches the overall width of the coin minus the raised lip. Find and mark the exact center of the coin using a carpenter's triangle or similar measuring tool. Place the point of the drill bit on this exact spot, and proceed slowly. Rushing may warp the metal or cause the drill to go off-center. Continue drilling until the coin center has been completely removed.
The inside of the coin ring will be rough and uneven. Use coarse sandpaper to remove any large projections. Move down gradually to finer sandpaper, rubbing the inside of the band until it is perfectly smooth. Wear the ring as-is, or detail the outside with hammer. Repeated light blows can create a variety of effects imparting a subtle luster or a pronounced pattern.
Brian Adler has been writing articles on history, politics, religion, art, architecture and antiques since 2002. His writing has been published with Demand Studios, as well as in an online magazine. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Columbia University.